Danger--FCC is playing with safety

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Posted by Middle Finger from dsc01-chc-il-6-206.rasserver.net ( on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 at 3:45AM :

Got this in an email..

Analysis of the Senate Governmental

Affairs Committee Hearing

The hearing was convened by U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins who is a Republican from Maine. The subject of the hearing was “how the federal government can best help our state, communities and first responders protect our homeland.” In the hearing minutes there is reference to an organizational chart but the chart was not presented as part of the minutes. Our government’s policy is a one size fits all states regardless of how states differ with respect to population or geographical location and witnesses found fault with that approach.

The committee heard from four witnesses: J. Chitwood Chief of Police, Portland , Maine; Jeffery Horvath, Police Chief of Dover, Delaware; Chauncey Bowers, Fire Fighter-EMT, Prince George’s County Fire Department and Edward P. Plaugher, Fire Chief, Arlington County, Fire department.

It became clear that only 2% of the funds appropriated for Homeland Security were reaching first responders who are fire and police departments. Apparently, Homeland funds are filtered through State bureaucracies that absorb 98% of the funds. Almost of the States are having shortages of funds because recent tax cuts have severely cut their revenues. State income taxes had become linked to Federal income taxes as a way for states to collect revenue. (When federal income taxes were cut linked state income taxes fell). Witnesses testified that it would be better for federal funds to be distributed directly to them in the same manner as paid out under other federal police assistance programs like COPS. It is a sad commentary that U.S. citizens faithfully believe that our government is doing everything to protect them from terrorism when in fact those funds were not reaching first responders. State governments are spending Homeland Security funds to meet other public needs and only recent hearings have uncovered that shocking misuse of public funds.

It was lack of foresight of tax tumbling domino effects that states would also lose revenue when federal income taxes were cut. The push for the first tax cut was relentless and was done with little reasoning. Before 9-11 events that was a bad and doubtful policy but to continue the same tax cut policy, when we continue to be subject to terrorist attacks, is reckless and inexcusable. The American people really believe that our government is doing everything possible is being done to protect them from terrorist attacks but instead we receive little protection and merely too much of terrorism theatre like recent practice responses to simulated terrorist incidents.

There is much evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is more of a political shell game than an agency that has a true capability of dealing with world terrorism. Bush’s organization of Homeland Security has been used to eliminate unions and even chase down Texas Democratic Legislators at the behest of Texas Republicans. Additionally, Tom Ridge, then nominee to head the Department of

Homeland Security and now the appointed Head of Homeland Security called Jim Spinosa, head of the West Coast’s Longshoremen’s Union and informed him that a strike would be bad for the national interest. Ridge also referred to a possible strike as a disruption of trade. Clearly, Ridge’s telephone calls were of a threatening and intimidating nature. The problem between Stevedores and Pacific Maritime Association was resolved only after the Association locked out the Longshoreman’s Union and at the behest of the latter the Bush administration invoked the Taft-Hartley law to stop the lock-out.

The strangest problem of the Homeland Security Department is not being able to obtain enough radio frequencies from the Federal Communications Commission so that all first responders can communicate with each other without the delaying and inconvenient resort to patch working from one frequency to another. Witnesses at the hearing desire “interoperability” and that is the quest of most first responders who want to be able to talk to all members of their organization who are acting to help people following terrorist attacks. “That congress, multiple years ago, asked the FCC to dedicate frequencies for public safety. We still do not have the frequencies necessary,” said Edward P. Plaugher, Fire Chief and 9-11 incident commander at the Pentagon, Arlington County Fire Department.

Michael K. Powell of the head of the FCC and son of a general who as sworn to defend his country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. But the general’s son could be acting more in pursuit of a platinum parachute rather than working in behalf of terrorist besieged population who pay his salary. By platinum parachute I mean possibly a comfortable director’s job working for the Carlyle Group. Would that kind of a job change be impossible or improbable? No, because that is where Michael Powell’s FCC predecessor, William E. Kennard, landed after he resigned his position as head of the FCC. Dan Briody wrote that Kennard may have received a job from the Carlyle as a “quid pro quo.” Additionally, the Carlyle Group has a history of hiring high ranking government officials who leave the service of their governments. The Carlyle Group hired former President Bush, John Majors, former British Prime Minister, Park Tae-Joon, form South Korean President and Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission. Will there be another quid pro quo for Michael Powell when he resigns? If I had to guess I would guess that the reason why first responders can not obtain the necessary radio frequencies is because the communications industry has first dibs on frequencies and their attitude could be the same as Cornelius Vanderbilt’s who at the turn of the 19th century said, “The public can be dammed.” Doesn’t President Bush realize that we can successfully fight terrorism with a corrupt government and gold yachts for the rich? Mr. Powell, give us those radio frequencies

-- Middle Finger
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